We Lose Flexibility As We Get Older
I will often hear older guys on the course tell the younger guys “I remember the days when I had that kind of flexibility! Just wait till you get to be our age!”
Most people begin to lose flexibility as they get older. It’s pretty obvious if you just look around on the driving range or watch guys tee it off on the first hole. The older guys tend to have a lot less flexibility (and when I say older guys, I’m talking 45 and older – not just the guys that are 65+). Ladies tend to not lose as much flexibility as men (I’m not saying that this can’t happen, it’s just not as prevalent as it is for men).
We don’t just lose flexibility over night; we lose flexibility when we don’t put in the effort to work on our flexibility. Holding stretches for long periods of time may help some people, but for many it can reinforce flexibility problems. Go after flexibility that you feel in full control of – by that I mean movement that is “free” but you feel in complete control of.
Studies show that we lose 10% of our flexibility EVERY decade after our 20’s (this will obviously depend on so many different factors). You’ve heard the old expression: “If you don’t use it – you will lose it” – and this is a very true statement. So, what can you do over the next 4 weeks to improve your flexibility?
Why are you having flexibility problems?
First, we need to know what area is having the flexibility or pain problem. Does your back feel super tight? What about your hips? What kind of injuries have you had before and did you fully recover from them when they happened? The nuance behind finding what YOU need is found in taking an assessment. You can find our FREE golf mobility assessment here.
The second thing we would need to know is if it’s joint related, muscular, nerve or if it’s muscle referral pain from somewhere else. Referral pain is pain that originates in one part of the body but follows a specific pattern of sending the sensation of pain or tightness to another part. An easy example of this is the heart muscle during a heart attack. Often people will feel pain radiate into and across the chest and down their arm; this is referral pain because there was a lack of blood flow (called ischemia) to the heart. All muscles can do this (it’s just obviously not as serious as the heart would be) and often we find there is referral “tightness” or “pain” coming from somewhere else. A lot of low back pain golfers experience is actually referral pain from muscles in the hips! So, you could work on the low back all day but if you don’t look at the hips, you would be “chasing your tail” for a while to find the root cause.
Another thing to consider about flexibility is that often tightness is the result of weakness in certain muscle groups. Static stretching, where you hold stretch positions for an extended period of time, won’t help you very much if your problem is weakness in muscle groups. Instead we need to strengthen the muscles. The feeling of tightness can be improved by increasing the length of the muscle through proper strength training, thus making it more flexible.
3 Things You Can Do To Get Started
Work to build strength and not just statically stretching to improve your flexibility
Ensure that your neck, shoulders, spine and hips can all rotate well for your golf swing – check out our FREE golf mobility assessment here
Start working on improving your flexibility/mobility and strength little by little; you don’t need to do an hour of exercises each day. Start with something that you can consistently do for 5-10 minutes each day. Consistency over time, with the right exercises, will lead to improvements and results. It can take as little as 90 minutes a week working on these things to start seeing results!
Losing flexibility is something that DEFINITELY happens as we get older, BUT a lot of your flexibility problems can actually be prevented. Check out our next Golf Blog for more information on the exercises that you can be doing to help improve your flexibility. In the meantime, take the home assessment to find out where you stand compared to other golfers with your rotational mobility – this will help you to understand how to improve your flexibility in the weeks to come.